What’s a hot tap? Put simply, hot taps allow technicians to tap into live process lines to fix leaks. By performing hot taps, techs can divert fluids through new flow paths, stop lines completely, or isolate flows, allowing them to safely perform pipe repair work. When facility managers need these fixes, they need them fast to keep problems from exacerbating and leading to shutdowns.
“It’s a Catch-22,” Innovator Technical Director Chris Coombs explained. “You don’t do a hot tap unless you absolutely have to. A lot of times, that’s dictated by emergency.”
When you suffer a leak at your facility and you need a hot tap now, who do you call? No matter the technicians you rely on, a hot tap is an alteration by definition. In most cases, techs are required to submit application paperwork and obtain necessary provincial approval before they can even begin this type of emergency work.
Waiting for that approval, however, can turn such a desperately needed fix into a long and arduous process, making the wait for hot taps quite frustrating — especially when every second matters. The wait time can cut into facility managers’ bottom lines due to fluids continuing to leak and the resulting production losses. On top of that, depending on the nature of the liquids they’re transporting and the pressure they’re putting through the leaking lines, their workforces could also be at risk.
In addition to leak-related risks, the work required to fix the leaks can also be quite dangerous. Why? Hot taps themselves require hot work to execute.
“What we do is weld a branch connection to the run pipe,” Coombs said. “You can bolt your hot tap machine to the branch connection then drill through the pipe into the live process in the plant.”
And although both require provincial approval, when welding these hot tap fittings, there’s an easy way … and a hard way.
- Horizontal split tee — This fitting, an industry standard, is ideal as it involves less welding to install because the branch and fitting are one piece.
- Vertical split saddle — This more difficult option involves welding a connection nozzle directly to the main line in a full-penetration weld. In addition, it requires a vertical split-saddle weld, also known as a full-encirclement saddle. A more work-intensive application, the vertical split saddle fitting requires double the welding and double the time to perform.
Due to these different approaches, it’s helpful to have a knowledgeable professional on your side to choose the best fitting for your specific leak, submit the application, obtain provincial approval, and perform the repair. But what if you could speed up the approval process, saving time and money while protecting your staff?
With Innovator’s pre-registered fittings, these speedy approvals and repairs are possible.
“One of the biggest advantages we have is understanding the requirements for the activity and making sure our submissions go as smooth as possible,” Coombs said. “We have a really good understanding of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable from a jurisdictional standpoint.”
That’s how Innovator crews can offer facility leaders a streamlined hot tap and repair process.
“Having those pre-registered fittings definitely puts us a step ahead as well,” Coombs said.
With faster submissions and approvals, Innovator hot taps mean better repairs and fewer safety risks. And with Coombs and his fellow experts at Innovator ready to take care of any repairs, you can be a step ahead of your next emergency hot tap, too.